Welcome to the seventh post in our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. These articles aim to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February. One team a day will be featured this year in alphabetical order. Today will look at New Mexico.
The 2020 season had its bumps and bruises for pretty much everyone, and New Mexico was no exception. They began the Gonzales era with a cancelled game, followed by a string of losses. Though they remained competitive, injuries mounted (especially at QB), and hope began to fade. However, they rebounded with two wins in their final two games to build momentum towards next year.
With eligibility rules being adjusted for Covid, it’s a bit difficult to know which players are staying or leaving. That makes it a bit harder to understand what specific needs are in the class. That being said, this class needed to shore up the depth in almost every area after the program experienced a high amount of attrition following the coaching change. To see how they’ve done so far, look below.
The Road So Far:
How things have changed since last year. In the 2020 class, they signed a total of zero players in December but were able to secure 20 this time around. Even better was the fact that New Mexico had a recruiting plan, securing commits early and often. Also, they mined the state for local talent in addition to finding recruits in California and Texas. Any sign of life was welcome as the Lobos were finally relevant in recruiting.
On the offensive end, the Lobos sure like to stock on QBs, taking 2 (CJ Montes and Bear Milacek) this class. They are also quickly developing a knack for recruiting quality running backs with the addition of Aaron Dumas, who is the star of this class. To compliment them, New Mexico brings in several quality receivers. Athletic Benji Johnson, tall and lengthy Kai Jessie, and potential impact player Keyonta Lanier out of powerhouse program Long Beach Poly (who announced his signing, but the school did not announce it). Plus, Trace Bruckler at tight end and another trio of offensive lineman, with Isaiah Sillemon leading that group.
Turning things over to the defensive side of the ball, there is a well-rounded group there as well. Jaden Phillips and Ja’shon Lowry are both defensive ends who could develop into talented starters down the line. Likewise, Alec Marenco and JD Roberts have the size and ability to become formidable linebackers. The Lobos also secured signings from five defensive backs, which will be vital for the future of Rocky Long’s offense. While the entire group looks high on potential, Ronald Wilson and Xavier Hailey look like two players who can contribute early.
Number who signed in December: 20
Number who will enroll early: 2
247 Composite: 82nd
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: DT, Transfers
Unlike last season, New Mexico has already done most of their work before December rather than needing to do it after. If they end up being done, they have a complete class as it currently stands.
If they do have spots for additional players, the Lobos should focus on two things. The first is a position, defensive tackle. They currently do not have any interior defensive lineman and would benefit from adding one or two players built to eat up blocks and stop the run. The second thing they should target with any remaining spots are transfer players. New Mexico is building through recruiting, but it’s smart to plug holes with veteran college players in areas that don’t block their young talent.
If the Lobos are able to do those two things, it would be some nice finishing touches on this class.
Previous posts: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada
Coming Monday: San Diego State